It’s that time again: crazy hats, funny accessories and orange t-shirts appear in the street of Amsterdam. Holland is getting ready for the orange football craze that accompanies the European Football Championship 2012.
10 facts you need to know when you are visiting Amsterdam during these crazy times.
1. Orange fever
In Holland we refer to the national football team as ‘oranje’.
Oranje (orange) is the name of the Dutch Royal Family, who originally came from the France region of Orange. This had nothing to do with the colour orange, but even so, Dutch people dress up in orange during all national events.
The craziness that comes over The Netherlands when there is a football event is called: oranjekoorts (orange fever) or oranjegekte (orange craziness).
2. Van Basten, Gullit
Netherlands only ever won the European Championship once: in 1988. Everybody knows it, everybody still talks about it.
The team (with Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit) sailed through the Amsterdam canals, while the crowd cheered them on during their homecoming victory ride.
3. Euro or EK
The European football Championship is the single most important sporting event in The Netherlands.
Officially, the European Championship (Euro 2012) is called the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship. In Holland we call it the EK 2012. The EK takes place every 4 years, always in a different country.
This year the tournament is held in the Ukraine and Poland.
4. Competition? Spain and Germany
Last time, in 2008, Spain won the Euro 2012. Spain also won the 2010 World Cup by beating the Netherlands in the finals. Germany won the Euro 3 times.
5. Holland Euro play dates
A total of 16 countries enter into the European Championship 2012. They have been divided into 4 groups. The best two of each group go on to the knock-out phase (quarter final).
Netherlands are a considered a serious candidate for the trophy, though they have drawn a tough group (Group B):
Saturday June 9: Netherlands – Denmark (18.00)
Wednesday June 13: Netherlands – Germany (20.45)
Sunday June 17: Portugal – Netherlands. (20.45)
6. Football songs from Holland
Every time there is football event, there is some orange hype going on. Every supermarket or brand tries to come up with an original orange item and build its marketing scheme around it. Many are free hand outs, hoping the orange crowd will fall for it and promote their product for free.
Also, many artists release a special ‘orange song’ to accompany the tournament.
The most famous ‘orange song’ is Hup Holland Hup (‘go Holland go’). Hup Holland Hup has been a popular football song since Netherland won the Euro 1988.
‘Wij houden van Oranje’ by Amsterdam folksinger André Hazes is also still popular.
7. Orange street party
All over Amsterdam, in every bar, you can watch the competition. When the Orange team is up, bars fill up quickly, so it’s vital you find the best seat in the house early if you want to watch the game.
If (when…) Holland makes it to the quarter finales, bars are allowed to bring large tv screen outside and serve alcohol. As of this moment, every game turns into a big party, just like Queensday.
8. Dutch football team players
Expectations are high because of the list of fancy players it the Dutch national team.
Many play at in the top of the European football league: Arjen Robben (Bayern Munchen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal) Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke) and Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale) are names to remember.
9. Euro Finals 2012
The Quarter Finales take place on June 20 and 21. The semi-finales are on June 27 and 28 and the final is to be played on July 1 2012.
10. Boycott Ukraine
In Europe, sports and politics tend to mix and this year it’s no different. All European Commissions have boycotted the Euro 2012 in the Ukraine. Many European governments have done the same. Reasons named are human rights, treatment of animals, treatment of gay people and the treatment of former Ukraine PM ms. Tymoshenko, who has been mistreated while serving a 7 year jail sentence.